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Best Language Learning Apps

Feb 2024

Language ,

Always wanted to learn a language but found it hard to stay consistent?

When you’re busy with work, school, or just seeing family and friends, it’s not easy to find the time for a language study plan. With so much else on, the commitment of signing up for language tuition classes might even seem overwhelming.

Luckily, there are tonnes of easy ways for you to stay learning if you’ve only got a minute to spare. Language learning apps are one of the best ways you can learn whenever you like. Whether you’re commuting to work, lying in bed at night, or having a cup of tea, there are no excuses not to practice your vocab!

Here, we take a look at some of the best language learning apps to get you started.



duolingo logo

Duolingo Review

Duolingo was launched in 2011, and now has over 500 million users worldwide. It can be used on both mobile and desktop, where users are guided through lessons by ‘Duo’, a friendly little lime green bird.

How much does it cost?

Duolingo makes its money from advertisements rather than subscriptions, so there are no sneaky, in-app purchases. It does have the option of Duolingo Plus, but we’d really recommend the standard version. There’s so much content that you really don’t need anything else.

How many languages are on offer?

DuoLingo currently offers 40 languages, including Korean, Chinese, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Russian and Arabic. You can even learn the languages of some of your favourite TV shows, with Duolingo offering lessons in Game of Thrones’ High Valerian, and Star Trek’s Klingon.


There’s no doubt that using Duolingo is one of the best ways to learn a language.

Once you’ve set up a profile, you choose a language, and get tested to see where your starting point should be. This is great if you’re already versed on the basics, as the app helps determine where you should begin. You can then decide on weekly goals, and get stuck into your lessons.

Each language course has individual modules that revolve around various skills, like travelling, greetings, food and family. Lessons are taught in the form of quiz games, such as matching pairs and dragging and dropping from a selection of words to translate sentences. If you’re feeling more advanced, you can choose to write out the sentences on your own instead.

There are also exercises where you type what you hear, and speaking exercises where you say what you hear (fortunately you’re able to opt out of these questions if you’re learning on the go and can’t speak!). It’s great for anyone struggling to improve pronunciation, or with foreign language anxiety. You can practice your vocab in private until you feel more confident.

The pros and cons of Duolingo

✔ It’s incredibly simple to use, making it easy to pick up vocabulary quickly.

✔ Your daily progress is tracked, and it identifies what your weakest words and areas are so you can work on them. You can even set different goal levels and get reminders to keep you motivated.

✖ Some of the vocab you learn is peculiar and not useful for real life.

✖ Unless you’re learning on a desktop, speaking lessons involve repetition rather than learning how to form a conversation independently.





babbel logo


Babbel Review

Babbel was set up in 2007 in Berlin, and now offers both an app and online learning. You may have seen it advertised on the TV, promoting their new, online live learning classes.

How much does it cost?

Babbel offers a free trial but only for one lesson – so pick wisely! After that, the subscription for three months is £9.99 p/m, but if you tie yourself into a longer contract, the cost decreases. A 6-month deal would cost £7.49 a month, while a 12 month deal lowers it to £5.99 a month.

How many languages are on offer?

There are 14 languages on the platform, including Russian, Swedish, French, and Turkish.


Babbel is similar to Duolingo in that it offers quiz game-style learning.

The lessons take just 10-15 minutes so it’s perfect to squeeze into your hectic schedule.

It’s also handy if you’re looking to learn a language for business. You can learn from a business perspective – for example, “Marketing English”.

Babbel has also recently launched Babbel Live, a series of live online classes you can join. These are run by language professionals, and you’ll learn alongside a group of other students. Babbel even offers a handy guide to how many classes you’ll need per week to advance to the next level.

The Pros and Cons of Babbel

✔ It’s particularly good for beginners. The lessons are quite basic and easy to get a handle on.

✔ It’s best for popular languages like French – a lot of content has been produced for these.

✖ The lessons per language vary significantly. For example, the Danish course has half the number of lessons as the French one at beginner level. At intermediate level, there are no Danish lessons, whilst the French intermediate level has double the number of French beginner lessons.

hellotalk logo

HelloTalk Review

HelloTalk was developed in Hong Kong and has over 30 million users worldwide. It differs in its approach to how to learn a new language, as you primarily learn through connecting with native speakers of your chosen language.

How much does it cost?

It’s free to use but there are some in-app paid features that are optional.

How many languages are on offer?

HelloTalk has an impressive offering of over 150 languages to get your teeth sunk into, but doesn’t offer formal lessons like Duolingo and Babbel.


HelloTalk differs from the other apps in that it functions as a messaging app, rather than an individual learning platform.

You fill in a profile, and register your native language and your target language. You then connect with native speakers in your target language, or people wanting to learn your native language.

It might sound unusual, but HelloTalk could be one of the best best language learning apps to add to other lessons. Just messaging with native speakers can be a great way to immerse yourself in a language. You can have an informal discussion with a real person from a foreign country, and decide what to talk about. As there’s no formal teaching, there isn’t anything to reinforce what you’ve learned.

The pros and cons of HelloTalk

✔You and your chat partner might be looking to brush up on different languages so there’s a feature that can be used to remind you to switch the language you are chatting in.

✔For spelling mistakes your partner makes, you can edit their comments and it updates in real time, showing them where they went wrong, and vice-versa.

Since there are no lessons, it can be hard to make sure you’re learning enough. To get the most out of the app, you really need to have a good proficiency in the language already.

You need to make sure your partner knows you’re serious about learning, not just on for a random chat.

memrise logo

Memrise Review

Memrise is a user-generated platform that’s been on the go since 2010. In 2017 it was awarded the best app in the Google Play Awards.

How much does it cost?

Memrise is free but they do offer a premium package.

How many languages are on offer?

Memrise has 23 languages available to learn. If you’ve struggled over which is the best language to learn, the app includes some interesting ones like Mongolian that aren’t featured on other platforms.


The app uses lots of different ways to help you learn and test your knowledge. It uses flashcards heavily to act as memory aids.

The format of the learning changes to keep your brain engaged, switching between simple Q&A and multiple choice.

It relies on what is called ‘elaborate encoding’, which is a memory mechanism which helps you to code the information you’re learning through associations, rather than rote-learning words and their translations.

Pros and cons of Memrise

✔ You can help others by submitting your own memory aids and mnemonics.

✔ Collecting points and going up the ranks as you progress, incentivises you to keep at it.

✖ It can be quite hard to follow what lessons to do because thousands are added to the platform every day.

✖ Courses are user-made so their quality can vary. It’s best used in conjunction with other resources rather than in isolation.


Go Have Fun With Languages!

These are some of the best language learning apps on the modern market. They all have their advantages and drawbacks, but they all have the plus point of being highly accessible. Especially if you’re learning a language as an adult, apps are perfect for using on-the-go.

If you need help translating or interpreting, Global Language Services can help. We offer a variety of services to help with conferences, business meetings, and more. Get in touch today!

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